sports

NCAA Basketball
9:25 am
Sat March 29, 2014

NCAA's Elite 8 Is Set; A Listing Of Weekend Games

Michigan's Caris LeVert (left) gets a shot past Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes (No. 5) and Jordan McRae (No. 52) in Friday night's NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal. Michigan advanced despite being outscored in the second half.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 9:18 pm

Kentucky came back to beat defending champ Louisville, and Michigan State upset Virginia Friday night, as the NCAA men's basketball championship finalized its Elite Eight lineup.

Those teams were joined by Michigan, which held off a second-half comeback by Tennessee, and Connecticut, which took out Iowa State. Four other schools had already advanced after Thursday's games.

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Sports
5:37 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Would March Be Less Mad If Players Were Paid?

Arizona guard Gabe York (1) pulls down a rebound as teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) watches during a regional semifinal NCAA college basketball tournament game against San Diego State, Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:44 am

Would March Madness be terribly different if the players were paid?

Probably not. The college basketball tournament might become more professionalized, but it wouldn't look much different from what we're seeing right now.

"I don't see it changing one iota," says ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas.

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Baseball
12:22 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

$292M For Baseball's Miguel Cabrera? Let's Dig Into That Number

He's got 290 million reasons to smile: The Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
C.J. Gunther EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 3:03 pm

The numbers are eye-popping:

MLB.com and other news sites are reporting that Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is getting an eight-year contract extension from the team that means he's guaranteed to earn $292 million over the next 10 years if he keeps playing.

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College Sports
12:03 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

What a Ruling on Football Players Means for College Athletes

Credit Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

Earlier this week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university. That could have implications for other student athletes in private universities nationwide, including local schools like the University of Hartford.

This all started because the football players at Northwestern wanted to form a union so they could have collective bargaining rights and better health coverage.

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NCAA Basketball
10:18 am
Tue March 25, 2014

UConn Men Are Headed to Sweet 16

Connecticut Huskies guard Shabazz Napier (13) drives past Villanova Wildcats guard Tony Chennault (5) in their NCAA tournament game on Saturday.
Credit Kevin Hoffman / UConn/USA TODAY Sports

The UConn men's basketball team is headed to the sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. The seventh-ranked Huskies had their hands full in the first two games of the tournament.

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Sweet 16
12:10 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

March Madness: After The Upsets, Which Team Do You Like Now?

Kentucky's Andrew Harrison goes up for a shot during his team's victory Sunday over Wichita State. The Wildcats' win sent the previously undefeated Shockers home.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 5:08 pm

Duke went down the first day, losing to nearly unknown Mercer.

Syracuse was bounced out on Saturday by Dayton — a team that hadn't gone very far in 30 years.

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NCAA Tournament
1:08 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Down Goes Duke In Biggest Upset So Far

Duke forward Amile Jefferson, in white, and Mercer guard Langston Hall battle for the ball during Friday's game.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:53 pm

We updated this post with the first shock of the day at 2:35 p.m. ET:

It's one-and-done for the Duke Blue Devils as their men's basketball team was beaten Friday by the Mercer Bears, 78-71, in the Division I men's basketball championship.

Mercer, a No. 14 seed in the Midwest region, was a huge underdog to the No. 3 seed Duke.

The win for Mercer, which has its main campus in Macon, Ga., is by far the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Heading into play, Duke was No. 8 in The Associated Press rankings. Mercer wasn't even among the nation's top 75 teams.

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March Madness
1:07 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Obama Picks Michigan State To Win Men's Basketball Title

The president is a big fan of the game and still likes to shoot hoops. But has he picked the winner?
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

The nation's "first basketball fan" has Michigan State winning it all in this year's NCAA Division I men's basketball championship.

President Obama filled out his brackets for ESPN again this year. The sports network aired the president's pre-recorded appearance earlier today.

Why Michigan State?

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March Madness
7:08 am
Wed March 19, 2014

There's A Reason They Call It Madness

Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:28 am

More than any other nation, America is awash in teams. There are the pro teams, the college team, the high school team, the fantasy teams.

Well, at a certain point, something has to give — and apparently, the team sport that's given way the most is men's college basketball.

Yes, college hoops has its fleeting moment in the vernal equinox. It's fun. You make out brackets — but it's not like other sports where you're familiar with the principals.

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NCAA
1:14 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Is There A Method To Your March Madness?

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin and his teammates are among the teams thought to have a strong chance of winning this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Are the Gators your pick?
Curtis Compton MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:45 am

The odds are that somebody in your office or shop is trying to get you to toss a few bucks into the pool and fill out the brackets for this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, which gets underway tonight. Fans of the women's championship might also be after you.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:08 am
Tue March 18, 2014

March Madness 2014

Julia Pistell is the Director of Writing Programs at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, and a co-founder of Sea Tea Improv.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Where is Wofford College? What is a shock of wheat, and what does it have to do with Wichita State's scary mascot? For that matter, what's a Chanticleer?

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon March 17, 2014

The Ongoing Debate Over Tribal Recognition

One of the big issues surrounding tribal recognition in Connecticut is the construction of more casinos.
Credit David Zeuthen / Creative Commons

Before Thomas Hooker founded the Colony of Connecticut, before Europeans even knew this land existed, the indigenous people already lived off the land. But over hundreds of years, the United States of America grew into what it is today, and the indigenous people were only granted small slices of land if they are "recognized" by the federal government.

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Code Switch
8:52 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Before The NBA Was Integrated, We Had The Black Fives

This 1943 publicity photo promoted the Washington, D.C., Bears basketball team.
Claude Johnson Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 1:22 pm

Most people have heard of the Negro Leagues in baseball and of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the late 1940s — but relatively few people have heard of the Black Fives, the African-American basketball teams that played up until the NBA was integrated in 1950.

An exhibit at the New-York Historical Society aims to rectify that.

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Baseball
3:43 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

It's Time To Shrink Home Plate

Imagine how much livelier baseball would be with a 14-inch home plate.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:09 am

It's time to make home plate smaller. I know: That's heresy; that's sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn't in play, it's boring.

The size of home plate was not decreed by God. Back when it was an iron plate — where the name came from — it was, in fact, round. It became rubber and a square, 12 inches to a side, but its present distinctive shape was established in 1900 — a full 17 inches across.

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Digital Life
7:20 am
Sun March 2, 2014

E-Sports Reach Pro-Athletic Status, Fandom — And Money

As more money flows into the competitions, E-sports gamers are gaining legitimacy as professional athletes with honed skills.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 11:30 am

Online competitive gaming is increasingly mirroring the world of professional sports. E-sports are attracting hard-working teams that compete for millions of dollars in prize money.

Generally, gamers wage battles with one another using rapid clicks of a computer mouse. "A lot of it comes down to reflexes, but a lot of [it] is strategy," says David Gorman, a sportscaster for the popular e-sport, Dota 2. "It's very much like chess, except it's in real time. Almost like speed chess."

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Covering Sports
11:09 am
Fri February 28, 2014

More Women Are Athletes, But Sports Reporters Are Still Mostly Men

Credit Jim Larrison / Creative Commons

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972  gave women the same rights to educational opportunities as men at every level of schooling.

While the law says that schools must give equal consideration to men and women when deciding who gets admitted to a school, who gets financial aid, and where a student lives while at school, the clause allowing women entrance to sports has long overshadowed the rest. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Women Speak Out on the State of Sports

Meg Greenwell is a senior editor for features at ESPN the Magazine
Chion Wolf

Four women join us to talk about sports, mostly football. Two of them are sports journalists. A third is a journalist specializing in legal issues, and a fourth is a scientist and engineer.

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Sports
4:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Hurrah for Jason Collins, But the NBA Was Already Pretty Gay

By Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com, via Wikimedia Commons

I'm as excited as anybody else about Jason Collins, but can the NBA really be having its Big Gay Moment when one of its stars from the past frequented gay bars, dyed his hair green and --during his playing days -- wore feather boas and a wedding dress?

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Basketball
9:45 am
Mon February 24, 2014

VIDEO: Warm Reception As NBA's Jason Collins Makes History

Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets during Sunday's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Jeff Gross Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:01 pm

The applause was warm and some fans stood Sunday night in Los Angeles when basketball player Jason Collins made history by walking onto the court during an NBA game.

By checking in during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets became the first openly gay man to play for a team in one of the nation's four major professional sports.

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Basketball
6:14 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

With Nets, Jason Collins Will Be NBA's First Openly Gay Player

Jason Collins, who played for the Boston Celtics in 2012, signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Collins came out as gay in an article in 2013.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Jason Collins, who announced last year that he was gay, will be the first active openly gay player in NBA history when he takes to the floor for the first time with the Brooklyn Nets.

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Winter Olympics
10:09 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Ukrainian Olympic Skier's Stand Is A Sacrifice For Her Country

Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska decided not to compete in Friday's slalom race, in a show of solidarity with protesters in Kiev.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Sports are supposed to be separate from politics, but athletes and games can't always be kept separate from life and death.

Scores of people were killed in Ukraine this week, as the security forces of President Viktor Yanukovich opened fire on anti-government protesters in Kiev's Maidan, now called Independence Square.

While some 800 miles away, more than 40 Ukrainian athletes have been skiing, skating, working hard to win medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Winter Olympics
5:06 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Same Banned Substance Fells German Biathlete, Italian Bobsledder

Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has left her country's Olympic contingent — and Sochi — after testing positive for a banned stimulant. She's seen here in the biathlon earlier this week; Sachenbacher-Stehle finished fourth.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Germany's Sochi 2014 contingent is reeling from the news that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing who took fourth place in the biathlon Monday, has tested positive for banned substances at the Sochi Winter Olympics. An Italian athlete also tested positive, officials said Friday.

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NASCAR
4:21 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

It's Winner-Take-All In NASCAR's New Chase

Jimmie Johnson, celebrating a win in July, is a six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ. He says the playoff changes should still result in a top driver taking the title.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:53 pm

NASCAR's old point system was a mathematical labyrinth concerned with consistency: Drivers didn't have to actually win a race to make the playoffs, as long as they were in the top 10 often enough.

Even NASCAR CEO Brian France has joked that fans needed a computer next to them to figure it out. Take this announcement at a race in Richmond, Va., last year:

"Joey Logano is still barely clinging to that 10th spot in points, but he's 25th two laps down. Jeff Gordon only 2 points behind him."

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Winter Olympics
2:12 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Loses To Canada 1-0; Will Play in Bronze Hockey Match

Canada's Jamie Benn (right) and Corey Perry celebrate a goal against America and goalie Jonathan Quick during the men's hockey semifinals in Sochi Friday.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 3:50 pm

Canada beat the U.S. men 1-0 in Olympic hockey Friday, winning a tense game that saw strong goalie play and stout defensive work. Despite numerous chances, the Americans weren't able to challenge Canadian goalie Carey Price.

The game was a rematch between two teams that played for gold at the Vancouver 2010 Games. That contest went to overtime before Canada's Sidney Crosby scored an artful golden goal that dashed the Americans' dreams of repeating as gold medalists — something they haven't done since the famed 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympics.

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Winter Olympics
12:40 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Skiing Gold

She's a winner: Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after taking gold in the women's slalom at the Sochi Games.
Olivier Morin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:06 am

Eighteen-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin has lived up to her reputation as the pre-race favorite by winning the gold medal in women's slalom at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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Winter Olympics
4:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Finally: U.S. Speedskaters Break Drought, Win Silver In New Race Suits

From left to right, America's J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Christopher Creveling and Eduardo Alvarez celebrate taking silver in the men's short track 5,000-meter relay at the Iceberg Skating Palace in the Sochi Winter Olympics Friday.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:27 pm

It took far longer than many people expected. But the American Speedskating team that came to Sochi with high expectations has finally won an Olympic medal. The men's short track relay team finished second to Russia Friday, two days before the Winter Games come to an end.

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Winter Olympics
3:15 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

USA Women Lose Gold To Canada In A Hockey Classic

The Canadian team celebrates Marie-Philip Poulin's winning overtime goal as American players try to recover from a game that seemed to be within their grasp in Sochi Thursday.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:25 am

With a 2-0 lead late in the game, it seemed like Team USA would finally overcome archrival Canada on hockey's largest stage Thursday, winning an Olympic gold medal that has eluded it for 16 years. But the gold medal went to Canada after a spirited comeback forced overtime.

The Canadians scored on a five-on-three power play, after a sequence of penalties on both teams, including a checking call on Team USA's Hilary Knight. Forward Marie-Philip Poulin scored on an assist from Laura Fortino. Under Olympic rules, the "golden goal" ended the game with a score of 3-2.

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Winter Olympics
11:35 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Women Are Front And Center In Today's Olympic Events

The Canadian women beat the U.S. in an early round match in Sochi on Feb. 12. The two teams face each other again today for the gold medal.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:32 pm

Forget about the men. There's only one Olympic hockey rivalry that matters today, and it's between the women.

The women's hockey teams of Canada and the U.S. will face off today for Olympic gold. It's the latest square-off in a tug of war that's been hot since 1998, when the U.S. team won the first Olympic gold in women's hockey, beating Canada.

Update at 6:30 p.m. ET: Canada Won, 3-2

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Winter Olympics
6:18 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Female Figure Skaters Compete For Gold — And The Sport's Future

Yuna Kim, of South Korea, won gold in Vancouver. She's leading the field after Wednesday's short program.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:55 pm

If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.

Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.

"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.

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Winter Olympics
4:53 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

The Roller Rink Where Olympians Are Born

Youth inline skaters line up to practice sprint starts at Pattison's West in Federal Way, Wash. (Tom Banse/Northwest News Network)

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result.

The Americans’ best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men’s relay team. Celski began his career at a skating rink in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way, the same city where his former speedskating idol Apolo Ohno got his start.

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